Our good friend and member of the legendary squad 'The dead Rabbits' Jonas (soulofwolves) had told us about a gravel pass that he'd done the year before and that he really wanted to do again and that we definitely needed to join him. That was in October 2017.
Unfortunately soon after that winter arrived and the snow made it impossible to ride gravel roads above 2000msl again before spring 2018. Due to the massive amount of snow it wasn't even possible before June.
So on a sunny Saturday we took the train to Airolo, the town on the south side oft the famous St. Gotthrad Pass. But this time we wouldn’t tackle Tremola's cobblestones but a small road that leads towards the Lago Ritom and Passo dell' Uomo. The first major climb to the lake was paved and I wasn’t sure why Jonas had insisted on riding this pass. As soon as we got to the lake, I understood. The surface changed to gravel and the views were unreal. We gently rode along the lake and found a cute restaurant where we had a break and enjoyed the scenery.
"Always, ALWAYS, stay hydrated. It might solve all your problems!" Fäbu
The road soon got rougher after our pit stop and at once we found ourselves grinding hard to make it up the steep single trail parts. When we finally made it to the summit of Passo dell' Uomo we found an abandoned military outpost where we made coffee and got some rest before we started decending.
We soon found out that the decent wasn’t meant to be easy, in fact we had to walk our bikes over multiple snowfields and the surface of the path aka. stony riverbed was definitely more suitable for full suspension bike than for our drop-bar gravelbikes. Needless to say we had a blast.
We made it down to Passo Lucomagno from where we could have taken the paved road all the way down to our planed finish in Bellinzona. The initial idea was to make it to Bellinzona in time to watch the Pros riding the final stage of the Tour de Suisse. But we skipped this idea because we wanted to ride some more gravel roads and trails instead. When we finally made it to Bellinzona we had just enough time to grab some beers and Pizza before we boarded the overcrowded train back home.
It was the first longer gravel ride of the season and what a start it was! The scenery was stunning, we got lost, we got wet, we had to walk and carry our bikes, we pushed hard, and we laughed a lot. Thanks crew! And thanks for the idea, Jonas!
Time moving: 5h
Time in total 9h15min
Distance: 90km (Route on strava)